Thursday, July 28, 2011

For the love of beautiful women.

I don't know when I learned about beautiful women. Like most boys, I suppose it must have started with my mother, who, as you may assume, is a beautiful woman. She is crippled now in multiple ways from illnesses including rheumatoid arthritis. Her mobility is so limited that her hair is nothing but a matted nest of tangles that will probably have to be cut free and left to grow again. But through all of this pain and loss of her former self, my mother has retained the essence of her beauty. She still can and does express her love for me and my children, for a dog, or perhaps a fallen bird. She loves still. And this capacity to love is the source of beauty.

I have met many beautiful women who have the sort of socially coveted beauty paraded across media outlets like an incessant pageant with rotating princesses. Their beauty often becomes tarnished as soon as the first conversation begins. From their beautiful mouths and betwixt their luminous, equine teeth what should issue forth? Insecurities, defensive and offensive darts and barbs, vulgarities and cruelties, elitism, racism, any of the contemptible isms. What is there to gain from speaking further with such a woman? There are enough people in any life who will worm their way into your circles, people you never invited, yet people still who become necessarily linked with you. Why would any sane person choose to add another of their ilk into the pack? When a woman churns poison and sprays it out through her mouth, her beauty loses all of its magic.

There are many beautiful women in the world. This is the great part of the message. They are married and single. They are born of all races and from all countries. Culture, heritage, orientations- all are introduced and accentuated by her true beauty. They are women whose spirits deliver bursts of love and energy like the morning light filtered through a sun catcher. Women such as these aren't trying to impress yet still their beauty is compelling.

Believe in this. It is real, this beauty that women possess. It is not so rare as you might imagine. This kind of beauty will be found where there is kindness and sincere laughter. Where there is compassion, caring, and joy for life, there, too, lives this beauty.

Don't take me to mean that I believe in flawless and shimmering beings. The spirit is so, but the lives we lead are far from flawless. Women who are beautiful can drink and be inked. They can be pierced and fierce. The beauty of the spirit illuminates the visible stage production that the world is allowed to see.

To any who read this, I hope you know the truth contained in this little rambling. You beautiful women in my life, thank you for being you. To those I have yet to meet, I hope you have someone like me who can see your true nature and be knocked happily breathless whenever you enter the room.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What Gordon Ramsay has taught me about restaurants

I really enjoy watching Gordon Ramsay's cooking shows. When he releases his fury into the faces of prospective top chefs, restaurant owners, cooks, and hapless managers, he breaks our social structure and gets away with it. But what I have learned from the shows isn't about yelling and cursing. What follows are a few notes on food and eating that Chef Ramsay has taught me.

"It's Raw!" If undercooked food is leaving a kitchen, send it back, then leave the place for your own safety.

"It's Disgusting and Dirty." Dirty plates, utensils, glasses, etc. are also a great indicator of a place you don't need to be eating in. Run away.

"Is the crab cake made with fresh crab?" Apparently everyone from the chef to the server will lie if you ask this question. If you're not in a restaurant situated on a bay or ocean, you should probably assume the crab cakes have been frozen. What a shame.

"This Risotto looks like baby vomit." Risotto, apparently, is difficult to cook properly. Not sure I would feel good about ordering it.

"Scallops" Oh my. So many bad scallops tossed into trash bins- it makes you wonder if anyone has ever cooked them before.

"Pasta" Make it fresh. End of discussion.

Finally, if you ever cook something to be served to others, taste it before it gets served. Taste it, and do it over if it isn't right.